Jazz Half Marathon Recap

I wanted to write a race recap before I wait too long and forget all the details.  So, here goes…

I was really not sure what to expect for this race.  As I mentioned a few posts back, my last half marathon was 1:40. I have been doing 5ks all summer and was not quite sure how to pace and race the half marathon distance. I was sick all day Wednesday and was really worried about it impacting my performance but woke up on Thursday morning after a glorious 10+ hours of sleep feeling so much better. I originally planned to take Thursday off but took Friday off as well since I felt like I needed the extra sleep and had too much to do Friday morning before getting on the road that afternoon. Have I mentioned how hard it is to pack with a two year old? Patience, patience…

My husband and I dropped little Miss off at the grandparents for the night and headed into NOLA. We made it to our friend’s house in Algiers Point (the West Bank of NOLA) early evening.  We were planning on staying with my husband’s friend but he was so nice to book us a room at a lovely little bed and breakfast outside NOLA which is very cleverly named House of the Rising Sun. Unfortunately, I was too nervous about the race to really get a good night sleep but will definitely have to go back.


We took the ferry over to downtown NOLA for our dinner reservations at Domenica which was a great little Italian restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel. The Magherita pizza was so delicious and of course my husband and I had to dessert. After dinner, we walked over to the Ritz Cartlon Hotel to hear some jazz music at Davenport’s Piano Bar. At this point, I was really tempted to blow off the whole race and head over to Frenchman street to hear some real music and celebrate having a child-free evening but we caught the 9:45 ferry back over to our hotel and I was asleep by 10:30.  Of course, I tossed and turned until about 4:45 when I finally decided to get up, eat some breakfast, and start hydrating for the race. I really like Dorothy from Mile Posts advice about pre-race nutrition and hydration. While I don’t have problems with nutrition I always hydrate too much the morning of a race and feel like I have to use the restroom constantly before the start and during the race.

My husband and I made it out to the start about 30 mins before the race and it was very windy and cold. I checked the temperatures before the race and they were in the 50’s so I planned on a short sleeve shirt and capris. It was very windy and felt more like it was in the 30’s than the 50s. If you aren’t from South Louisiana, you realize that the temps do feel cooler here because of the humidity in the air. So, I was freezing but checked my gear and shed my layers before the race.

I loved that this was a small race! The last half marathon I did was part of the Rock N’ Roll series in Nashville and there were over 27,000 runners/walkers. This race had about 1,200. Since I had a faster time, I was able to line up right behind the start line and it was nice to not have to weave through crowds at the start or wait for your corral to finally make its way up to the start.

So, here are my race splits:

  1. 7:19
  2. 7:18
  3. 7:20
  4. 7:21
  5. 7:21
  6. 7:20
  7. 7:25
  8. 7:30
  9. 7:30
  10. 7:19
  11. 7:17
  12. 7:17
  13. 7:18
  14. 6:57/last .2)

Total: 1:37:07 gun time for 13.2 miles

My splits don’t indicate it, but there was a very strong head wind depending on which direction you were running. Overall, I felt fantastic in this race! I tried to focus on keeping the first five miles relaxed, stay strong to keep the pace even for the middle five, and push in the final 5k of the race. Mile 7, 8, and 9 were around the park and I was started to feel a little tired and was fighting to keep my focus and maintain my pace. Luckily, I ran with two other great ladies at this point and they helped push me through those middle miles!

I hit mile 10 and started to pick it up. My legs were feeling heavy by mile 10 or so but I think the speed work and 5k training really helped me at this point in the race because I knew I could pick it up and hold anything for a final 5k. I finished feeling tired but really strong despite the head on wind we faced in the last two miles. I loved this distance for a race. This race was challenging but not nearly as excruciating or as fast as a quick 5k. Perhaps that means I should push the pace more but given this was my first race back, I was not too sure what to expect. I just felt great about achieving a new personal record for myself and I loved feeling strong and confident for my race.

One thing I did struggle with is trying to eat/drink during the race. I took water at every 2 mile stop but think I spilled half the water on my shirt and barely got a sip at each point. I just can’t run and drink. I broke up my shot blox but still had trouble chewing them and getting enough water in during the rest stops to not feel completely dehydrated. 

Overall, I loved this whole experience…the race, NOLA, the cool weather, and of course, a delicious post-race breakfast in the city!


5 thoughts on “Jazz Half Marathon Recap

  1. Pingback: Week 26 (4/16-4/22) « running on faith

  2. Pingback: 2011: a recap « running on faith

  3. Sounds like it was an awesome day for you! Well done!

  4. I did several 9-10 mile long runs over the summer fall and one 13 miler 3 weeks out from the race. Just started adding in some speedwork about a month ago and it has really helped so going to focus on getting some quality workouts in to build some speed!

    But yes, loved the small race. Carrying a water bottle is a good idea but I hate dealing with those handhelds. I like to have my hands free! Will need to practice @ the water stops!

  5. Great race Stephanie! Smaller races are the best kind. Dorothy (Mile Posts) carries a water bottle with her during marathons, so I was thinking of trying that in my next race b/c I spill the cups of h2o at every stop as well. Did you do long runs in addition to your speed work?

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